Inevitably, the County Council will ask once again, “What do islanders want?” or “What’s the island consensus?” Such questions are siblings of the unanswerable classics in pop psychology, “What do men want?” and “What do women want?” But the Council will ask and probably soon. If asked this way, islanders are apt to give similarly simplistic but diverse answers — not a clear “consensus” (an over-used terms with multiple definitions, depending on who users it).
A reasonable way forward would for “Someone” be to run a well-crafted survey to answer meaningful and useful questions about ferry-user usage, needs and preferences.
Here’s a survey that Pierce County Public Works conducted for users of the Anderson Island / Ketron Island ferry this spring, courtesy of Rich Frye. Perhaps this could be a departure point for a survey for Whatcom County Ferry users.
Now if only Good Ol’ Someone would step forward to do all the work . . . and take all the flack . . . and for free, of course . . . 😉 On a more practical note, Skagit County successfully ran its Guemes Island ferry user satisfaction survey this spring by partnering with WSU Extension and the Guemes Island Ferry Committee (see details and results here).